Rutherford Calls on Reinstating Troops Who Refused Vaccine

Rutherford Calls on Reinstating Troops Who Refused Vaccine

Daniel Molina
Daniel Molina
|
July 8, 2024

While the COVID-19 pandemic might feel like a thing of the past, lawmakers are still attempting to address remnants of the past. In a new op-ed, Florida Rep. John Rutherford (R) is making the call for troops who refused to get the COVID-19 vaccine to be reinstated.

The COVID-19 pandemic was a divisive period as people differed on numerous issues like the government's response to the pandemic and the implementation of vaccine mandates.

Signaling back to the time when Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin mandated that servicemembers get the COVID-19 vaccine, Rep. Rutherford noted that the Biden Administration ended up discharging "more than 8,000 members of our military solely because of their vaccination status.

Rep. Rutherford, who didn't agree with the vaccine mandate, in an op-ed for the Florida Union Times, argues that service members were forced "to choose between their love of country and their sincerely held religious beliefs."

The vaccine mandate was ended on January 10th, 2023 by Secretary Austin, and since then, Rep. Rutherford writes that Congress has attempted to "right the wrongs of the vaccine mandate" by passing language in the Fiscal year 2024 National Defense Authorization Act, which "allows former servicemembers discharged for refusing the COVID-19 vaccine to have their personnel files corrected so they may receive their full retirement benefits."

Now, during a time when the military is struggling to enlist Americans, the Florida lawmakers are bringing attention to his Reinstate Our Troops Act. "This bill requires that all servicemembers discharged for refusing the COVID vaccine be promptly reinstated to their previously held rank and job," Rep. Rutherford writes.

"At a time like this, we need a mission-focused, combat-ready force more than ever. I implore the Department of Defense to do everything possible to swiftly reinstate every man and woman discharged from our armed forces over a vaccine."

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Daniel Molina

Daniel Molina

Daniel Molina is an award-winning senior reporter based in Miami. He holds a bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Florida International University. His hobbies include reading, writing, and watching films.

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